February 2008 (Part 3)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
My previously mentioned feelings of decentralization are different now. I don't think I explained them correctly before. Sometimes when I breathe in, it feels as if the energy of my breath goes only into one side of my body. This happens to me both during and outside of practice, but has been much less frequent since enrolling on the Chi Kung course.
Before the course, this was the cause of much irritation and stress to me. I put it down to an imbalance between the left and right sides of my body. I'm sure this is the case, as my eczema is much worse on my right foot than the left, and until recently my left foot would sometimes feel uncomfortably cold, and my right foot unbearably hot.
My right foot is a still much plumper, warm and filled with blood than my left, but it seems that my practice is slowly resolving this problem. Generally my left and right sides still feel out of balance, but I'm seeing changes every day, and the eczema on my right foot can no longer be described as severe.
— Max, UK
Editorial Note: Max' other questions can be found at February 2008 Part 2 of this Question-Answer Series.
Congratulations for this remarkable improvement.
The wonderful thing about chi kung is that it does not matter what the immediate causes are, and even whether you have diagnosed the causes correctly! This is absurd from the conventional Western medical paradigm. But from the chi kung paradigm, this statement is perfectly correct, because there is only one fundamental cause, and therefore whether diagnosis is correct becomes irrelevant.
Let us suppose that the cause of your eczema were viral infection, but you diagnosed it as an imbalance of your left and right sides. A therapist however believed that it was due to your lack of physical exercise.
From the chi kung paradigm, it does not matter which diagnosis is right in reality, or whether all of them are right or all of them are wrong. It is because the fundamental cause is energy blockage, which may manifest as a viral infection, or as an imbalance of left and right, or as symptoms sugesting a lack of physical exercise, or as all of these symptoms, or as none of these symptoms, or as any other symptoms. Once the blockage is cleared, the natural working of your own body (and mind) will overcome the eczema.
Therefore, in chi kung we are not concerned with diagnosis! We are concerned with whether your practice generates sufficient chi flow. One major obstacle to chi flow is over-thinking.
If you practice your chi kung exercise correctly to generate sufficient chi flow consistently, you will overcome your eczema or any health problems. Similarly if you perform your business or profession well to generate sufficient cash flow consistently, you will overcome your economic problems regardless of what symptoms the economic ill may manifest in.
However, while practicing, Sifu Jordan cautioned against going barefoot during training, as negative energy from the ground can be absorbed through the feet. He said this wasn't such a big problem on second floor rooms however.
Currently I train in my room on a second floor. I wear slippers during practice, but afterwards I feel that the heat cleansed from my body has built up in my feet, and needs to be released, and so go barefoot.
I go barefoot around the house mostly as advised by my Chinese physician, though I no longer take herbs, as I found them to be largely ineffectual. If my feet are hot during training, should I train in lighter footware, or barefoot? Am I still open to negative influence from the ground in the brisk walk after training?
This is another example of your over-thinking, which has brought you much harm. Be assured that if you practice on the second floor it does not matter whether you are bare-footed or wear slippers or shoes or socks, irrespective of their size and colors and brands as long as they are comfortable.
It also does not matter whether you feel or do not feel any heat cleansed from your body, or whether there is really any heat cleaned from your body, or whether the heat was only imaginary, or whether the real or imaginary heat has built up in your feet or just in your second left toe, or in three quarters up your right leg, or in any part of your body, or none at all. You also need not worry over any advice from your Chinese physician or Italian chef or Indian doorman if their recommendations do not give you satisfactory results.
Further, you need not worry over whether you are open to negative influence from the ground after training, or before training or during training or at any time, because your chi flow will be more than enough to clear such negative influence. You don't even have to worry about your mistakes made in your chi kung training due to forgetfulness or carelessness.
What you need to do is to stop worrying, stop intellectualizing, and practice twice a day any of the chi kung exercises you have learnt from Sifu Jordan or from me during the Intensive Chi Kung Course. Enjoy your chi flow.
In chi flow after the exercises, I have very occasionally had small spontaneous involuntary movements. This is rare though. Sometimes I feel that something is right to do, like bend over, or move my arms about, and when I sway it seems like I sway just because I am relaxed, not due to an internal movement like I occasionally get.
After reading testimonies of your students, I would have thought that someone like me who has internal blockages would move more vigorously. Sifu Jordan told me that some people never move much, and just to enjoy my training, which I do very much. Can I expect more involuntary movements, and is that the most beneficial aspect of chi kung training?
The best practical answer for you at this stage is not to worry about these intellectual questions, and just enjoy your chi flow. If your chi flow is vigorors, let it be vigrous. If the chi flow is gentle, let it be gentle. If it moves you to your right or left, flow along to your right or left. If it moves you round and round, follow the flow round and round.
This was what Taoist masters in the past referred to as “wu-wei”, which is often translated as doing nothing and everything will be done for you. In Western terms, it is trusting God knowing that God always work for your best interest.
What many people may not realize is that the Taoist masters shared only part of their secret. The first part is “you-wei”, which means doing something appropriate. In Western terms, you must help God to help you. In your case, the “you-wei” part or helping-God part is to generate an energy flow. Then the Universal Energy, or God, will work out the best for you.
Can I develop a significant amount of internal force from my current routine? Could the short time I spend focusing on the dan tian at the end of each session count as Zhang Zhuang, and can I at some stage increase the amount of time I hold my mind there? At what stage would it be safe and beneficial to start Zhang Zhuang training under an instructor?
Yours are “think” questions, rather than “practice” questions. Nevertheless, I shall answer them for your intellectual curiosity. In practical reality, the answers may be different, as the answers change when your circumstances and other factors change.
Yes, you could develop some significant internal force from the routine your described, provided you practiced correctly — when compared to most other people who practiced gentle physical exercise though they thought they practice chi kung. But as you would have discovered from your own experience by now, the internal force you developed from your routine in 30-40 minutes was little compared to the internal force you developed from “Pushing Mountain” or “Cosmic Shower” you did in 10-15 minutes during the Intensive Chi Kung Course.
At the time you asked the question, your focusing on your dan tian was Standing Meditation, not Zhan Zhuang. Now, having attended the Intensive Chi Kung Course, your focusing at the dan tian can be Standing Meditation or Zhan Zhuang or both.
The criteria used to decide whether it is Standing Meditation or Zhan Zhuang are form and function — a statement you probably could not understand then, but can understand now.
Earlier your focusing on the dan tian was Standing Meditation because it was a common Standing Meditation posture and your purpose was to feel peaceful. Applying the skills learnt at the Intensive Chi Kung Course, you can now use the same posture as the Wuji Stance to develop internal force at your dan tian, which then makes it into Zhan Zhuang. You can also simultaneously, or in a separate session, use the same posture to expand into the Cosmos, which makes it into Standing Meditation.
If you train under a competent instructor, it is safe and beneficial to start Zhan Zhuang any time. If the instructor is incompetent, it is never safe or beneficial any time too. It is easy to train incorrectly, and an incompetent instructor may not even know the training is incorrect!
If you have an excellent instructor, like Sifu Jordan, kungfu training will help you to overcome eczema or any health problems if you still have them. An incompetent instructor is likely to aggravate your health problems or create some if you start with none. This is one of the most important reasons, but also one that is often neglected, why a student must seek a good teacher.
I have committed to start training Kung Fu again in the New Year, which coincides with my estimated time of recovery from my eczema affliction, if I keep progressing at the rate I am doing. How much control over my energy and mind can I expect to develop, if I were just to practice my current routine for the rest of my life? The benefits I have obtained in this short time are astonishing!
While it is true that the benefits you have obtained in such a short time are astonishing by your and most other people's standard, you may be surprised to know that both your theoretical understanding as well as your practical control over energy and mind at the time you asked this question was little or nil. Had you have some understanding and control, you would not have done the unnecessary and unrewarding things you did to add on to the exercise Sifu Jordan had taught you.
For example, you did not understand that stretching your neck and arms the way you did was gentle physical exercise, and not chi kung. You did not have any control over energy or mind that enables you to loosen your neck or arms using chi flow instead of muscular movement.
Yet, you have astonishing results. This is because of the great art that Sifu Jordan taught you. It was the energy flow generated by the art itself, not by your understanding and control, that gave you the astonishing results.
If you had continued the way you did for the rest of your life, you would have developed some understanding and control of energy and mind that will enble you to have good health, vitality and longevity — results that many people would consider astonishing.
But these results, while very important and desirable, are not considered high-level by our Shaolin Wahnam standard. Understandably, and quite expectedly, many other people would accuse us of being boastful or talking non-sense. That is their opinion and their business, and we are not interested to convince them. But having attended the Intensive Chi Kung Course, you yourself would need no convincing. You have experienced the validity of my statement yourself.
For example, before the course you did not understand the difference between chi kung and gentle physical exercise, the three approaches and levels of chi kung practice, and why and how chi kung can give us good health, vitality and longevity, mental clarity and spiritual joys. You also could not tap energy from the Cosmos, regulate the speed and direction of chi flow, run round a hall a few times without feeling tired, develop tremendous internal force, have a cosmic shower to clear physical, emotional, mental and spiritual blockages, set your spirit free and expand into the Cosmos.
But after just three days of the Intensive Chi Kung Course, you have understood all this philosophy and have accomplished all these high-level feats. Just imagine how much more understanding and control of energy and mind you would attain if you continue practicing for a life-time. What we must remember clearly is that we must always use these incredible powers for good.
Smiling from the heart is clearly not only a beneficial, but integral aspect of Chi Kung training. Unfortunately, I've experienced only glimpses of it in my practice, although I do experience a sublime sense of stillness and calm previously unknown to me, and very much enjoy and look forward to my practice.
Will perseverance in my training enable me to “open my heart”? It definitely seems to be something that can't be forced, and happens spontaneously. But when Sifu Jordan told us to smile from the heart, I found it was something that I couldn't switch off and on, and just relaxed and enjoyed the sense of peace, which is what I do now.
“Smiling from the Heart” is an integral aspect of our Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung training. It is not an intergral aspect of chi kung training in general. In fact very few chi kung schools practice it.
Having glimpses of it is already a remarkable attainment. Of course, as you continue in your practice, you will become more and more proficient in this skill.
If you recall your experience at the Intensive Chi Kung Course, you would rememebr that you coughed frequently during chi flow. This was because of chi clearing the physical and emotional blockages at your chest, which would in turn make it easier for you to smile from the heart.
But more important is clearing away your mental blockage, i.e. your excessive intellectualization. The term “heart” refers to the emotioanl, the mental and the spiritual. If you have a lot of thoughts clouding your mind, not only you lack mental clarity, your spirit will be affected which will lead to a closing of your heart.
But you have done well in the Intensive Chi Kung Course. Your heart is certainly opening. Didn't you realize that as the course progressed, you smiled more and more often? At the conclusion of many sessions, you were not only charged with energy but also peaceful and happy.
As for directly after training, is there anything that is particularly suitable to do? Without wishing to pry, Sifu, what do you do after training? I feel that I am somewhat open to outside influence after sessions and so I usually sit down quietly until the intensity of the effects of practice calms down. I know to avoid showering and eating straight afterwards, or going somewhere cold, hot, dirty etc.
Here again, you are asking academic questions, where almost any answer may be correct — or wrong.
At random I can easily give a dozen answers. After training, I look at the sky, I smell the air, I smile at the world, I rub my face, I walk about, I answer questions from all over the world, I work on my computer, I talk to my wife, I say hello to a passing cloud, I eat some chocolate, I read a book, I feel how lucky I am.
Whether or not you are open to outside influence after training, or before training or during training, is up to your mind. At any time you can open yourself to good influence, and close yourself to bad one. You might be unable to do this before the Intensive Chi Kung Course. But after the course, you have the control over your energy and mind to do so. You may not be able to do so efficiently at first, but you can do it, and with practice you will be more and more efficient.
I was looking for some kungfu courses. Your website looked good. But when I looked at the price you charged, I was shocked. $1500 and only a few days! You must be crazy. Why you are so greedy? Do you know how much is $1500? Other masters charge only $50.
— Name and country not stated
Normally I would not reply to questions from persons who do not provide their name (even a pen-name) and country. But this is an exception as the answer may benefit other people reading my Question-Answer Series.
Quite a lot of people, including those who attended my courses, think that paying US$1500 for an Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course or US$1000 for an Intensive Chi Kung Course for just a few days is crazy when they can learn kungfu or chi kung in many other places for less than US$100 per month.
But no one who has attended my intensive courses says I am greedy. In fact many say I am very generous to teach such courses. All of them are very happy that they attended the courses. Many of them have said that they would never pay me enough for the benefits that they have obtained from the course.
I have just completed an Intensive Chi Kung Course (17-21 January 2008) and an Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course (22-28 January 2008). US$1000 for an Intensive Chi Kung Course and US$1500 for an Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course were what I charged since I first offered these courses to the public about 10 years ago. From this year I have changed the fees to 1000 euros and 1500 euros respectively.
At the graduation dinner of the Intensive Chi Kung Course, a student mentioned that when he told his wife he was attending my course, she exclaimed, “1000 euros! Are you crazy?” This particular student is from Malaysia, and 1000 euros is about 4500 Malaysian dollars, which is about three times an average person earns a month. But he was very happy and grateful, and asked me permission to attend my next course.
At the conclusion session of the Special Shaolin Kungfu Course, where attendance was by invitation only, three students cried. Theirs were tears of joy and gratitude.
Of course I know how much US1500 is, probably much more than you. When I was a school teacher, that was the money I had to work very hard everyday for three months to feed my family, and now when I have more money than my needs, that is a portion of the money I regularly give to poor people, all of whom unknown to me personally, to feed their families.
When I was a kungfu student, if a master offered such a course at 1500 euros, I would consider it a golden opportunity, though I could not afford it. But I would borrow the money to attend it. I would rather lose the money if the master's claims turned out to be untrue than lose the opportunity to learn in a few days the essence of Shaolin Kungfu that most kungfu practitioners could not get in twenty years.
What is this essence of Shaolin Kungfu that students learn in the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course? It falls into three aspects: internal force, combat application and spiritual cultivation. By the end of the course, students are able to develop internal force, apply Shaolin techniques and skills for combat, and experience spiritual joys that they only read about previously in books.
But, of course, your values are different from ours. Honestly I would advise you not to attend even when you can easily afford the fee, and I would reject your application if you apply. I do not want to waste your time and mine.
- Don't Become a Slave to Intellectualization
- Why do you Choose to Train with Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit?
- Really Experiencing Combat Application, Internal Force and Spiritual Joy at an Intensive Course
- How could a Small Monkey Fight against a Big, Powerful Opponent?
- Tantui - the Essence of Northern Shaolin